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Viking wars

Viking wars

作者:那蓦  时间:2019-03-08 04:14:03  人气:

By Andy Coghlan DOCTORS and scientists are threatening to sabotage the transfer of the medical, genetic and genealogical records of all Icelanders to a private company. Opposition to the plan has been mounting since last month when Iceland’s parliament approved a controversial law authorising the creation of a database containing the personal data. The law allows a single licensee to control the database. This licensee is almost certain to be named as deCode Genetics, a company based in Reykjavík and financed largely by investors in the US. By combining Iceland’s meticulously kept family histories and medical data with modern genetic analysis, deCode hopes to discover genes connected with disease and develop new drugs (This Week, 5 December 1998, p 20). Although deCode says it isn’t interested in personal data relating to individual Icelanders, opponents point out that the plan lacks adequate safeguards to prevent disclosure of this information. Critics are also worried that people will not be asked to consent to their details being entered on the database. Instead, those who wish to be excluded will have to formally “opt out”. On 17 December, the Icelandic parliament passed the bill by 37 votes to 20, with 6 absentees. But opponents aren’t accepting defeat. “We’ve lost a battle, but the war is still going on,” says Einar Arnason, a professor of biology at the University of Iceland in Reykjavík. Arnason believes the database will ultimately prove unworkable. A third of Iceland’s family and hospital doctors have submitted petitions to the government saying that they will not feed information into the database unless their patients request that they do so in writing. Most of Iceland’s scientific societies are also opposed. “It will end in chaos,” predicts Péter Hauksson, founder of Mannvernd,